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Zach Parise says no decision yet; Devils in mix, Blackhawks’ late push

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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The most coveted free agent in the NHL will be coveted for a little while longer. Zach Parise told the assembled media outside his agents' offices in Mississauga that there would be no decision on his future on Monday, the second day of his unrestricted free agency in the NHL.

Via David Shoalts of the Globe & Mail, who was on site,

"I'm getting closer but haven't made a decision. I haven't set any deadlines," [said Parise.] Parise says he will return home tomorrow and discuss things with his family. Would not say which teams in contention but Devils still in mix.

Via Mark Masters of TSN, Parise on the Devils' financial situation, as the team faces a mountain of debt and uncertainty in ownership?

"In speaking with Lou he said that won't be a problem."

Via Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Parise's agent Wade Arnott said:

"We have thoroughly deliberated every option with Zach. He wishes to take some time to step back and review all with his fiance and his family. We could be drawing closer to a decision."

Parise, who scored 31 goals and 38 assists last season with the New Jersey Devils, indicated there are multiple teams still in the mix for his services. Among the expected suitors: The Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and Devils.

But on Monday, a new team entered the public discourse over Parise — the Chicago Blackhawks, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago.

The Blackhawks appeared out of the process for Parise, but may have been one of the final teams he considered on Monday. According to Cap Geek, they have $7,754,872 in available space, but could open more if defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson ($3.5 million cap hit) is traded; or if the Blackhawks would consider bringing on Parise and shipping out Patrick Kane's $6.3 million cap hit through 2015.

(Keep in mind Jonathan Toews and Parise have a Shattuck-St. Mary's connection.)

The Devils are very much in the mix to retain Parise's services, with recently signed goalie Martin Brodeur having lobbied Parise throughout the last 24 hours to return to Jersey. From the NY Times:

"The Devils are right in there for him," Brodeur said. "He's really weighing his options right now. Hopefully he'll make the right decision for him, but by no means he's not thinking about not coming back, that's for sure."

So Monday wasn't Parise Day, but Tuesday looks like it could be. Where do you think he's headed?

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